France Halts Ratification of Hong Kong Extradition Treaty

August 3, 2020 Updated: August 3, 2020

France has decided not to ratify its 2017 extradition agreement with Hong Kong after Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the territory, the French Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

“As the minister for Europe and foreign affairs recently reiterated, the national security law in Hong Kong is a change that compromises the inherited framework of the 1997 handover,” said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

France foreign minister
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks to the media after meeting Germany Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin, Germany, on June 19, 2020. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/Getty Images)

“It calls into question the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and the respect for Hong Kong’s ‘high degree of autonomy’ and related fundamental freedoms,” the spokesperson said. “This law also directly affects our citizens and our companies.”

“In light of the most recent developments, as things stand, France will not ratify the extradition agreement signed on May 4, 2017, between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” said the ministry.

The national security law, which went into effect on June 30, criminalizes individuals for any acts of subversion, secession, and collusion with foreign forces against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Hong Kong
Riot police detain a group of people during a protest in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong on May 27, 2020. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images)

Following the introduction of the national security law, all members of the “Five Eyes” alliance—the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong.

On July 28, EU foreign ministers decided to “review the implications of the national security legislation on the operation of Member States’ extradition and other relevant agreements with Hong Kong.”

On July 31, Germany suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong.

The French Foreign Ministry also voiced Paris’s concerns over the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone the legislative elections.

Hong Kong candidates
Agnes Chow, Anthony Wong Yiu Ming, Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai, Denise Ho Wan See, Lester Shum, Eddie Chu, Joshua Wong, and Gregory Wong pose for photo at a campaigning during primary elections aimed for selecting democracy candidates in Hong Kong on July 11, 2020. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

“France underscores the vital importance of holding the elections as swiftly as possible under conditions that will allow sincere democratic expression, in accordance with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by Hong Kong’s Basic Law,” the ministry said.

And in an unprecedented move, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on July 31 that the 2020 Hong Kong Legislative Council election has been postponed for a year, citing a local surge in CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases as the reason.

The postponement trails a mass disqualification a day earlier of key pro-democracy candidates, who were deemed unfit to uphold Hong Kong Basic Law or loyalty to Hong Kong’s government under the Chinese regime.

Isabel van Brugen and Yinyin Liao contributed to this report.